Four international university rowing teams have been welcomed to Waikato to take part in the 14th Gallagher Great Race on the Waikato River on Sunday afternoon.
A powhiri was held on the University of Waikato marae today.
Harvard University from the United States is joining Britain's Cambridge University to take on the Waikato University eight for the coveted Harry Mahon Trophy.
Women's crews from the universities of Sydney and Melbourne will battle the Waikato women, who have an outstanding record in the Great Race, winning the Bryan Gould Cup 10 times.
The Waikato men's crew has won the Great Race - upstream over a 3850m course - nine out of the 13 times.
Last year, the Waikato and Harvard oars clashed near the start of the race and Waikato oarsman Richard Power fell out of the boat. The race was restarted from that spot, attracting some criticism from Harvard.
Waikato won that race and Harvard is back this year with a "score to settle".
Captain James O'Connor, a New Zealander, said the team was made up of competitive guys who did not like losing.
"We have come back with an extra agenda."
Richard Power, who fell out of the Waikato boat last year, is back as captain and said had no doubt Harvard would be gunning for them.
"I am sure Harvard are back for blood and it will be a great clash again."